President Joyce Banda says Malawians would have to decide on the way forward on the issue of respect for sexual minority rights, including same sex marriages.
In a statement released on Monday, Bandaâ€™s press secretary Steve Nhlane said Banda told the international media in London that she would encourage debate on the issue before a position is taken by Malawians themselves.
“President Banda will be telling the media that the final outcome on the debate rests with Members of Parliament who will discuss the matter and decide the way forward.
“Members [of Parliament] represent their constituents and it is, therefore, expected that what they decide represents the views of the Malawian people,” said Nhlane.
Among the laws that earned Malawi a bad name internationally and the freezing of aid by traditional donors, were those that criminalise same sex relationships. The late president Bingu wa Mutharikaâ€™s administration referred the laws to the Law Commission for review.
Sections 137A criminalises gross indecency between females whereas Section 153 criminalises gross indecency between males and Section 153 of the Penal Code criminalises unnatural offences which include any person who has carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature.
Centre for the Development of People (Cedep) executive director Gift Trapence said government has taken the right path to allow for debate for people to understand the issue.
“Itâ€™s also a progressive way of taking the sodomy laws for debate and for repeal in Parliament,” said Trapence.